Cars

Mini Cooper E (2023): first ride in the new electric Mini

Why aren’t these adhesive foils for Erlkönigs actually checked? THAT would have been stylish. Add some tweed blankets to the secret cockpit of the new Mini – the Earl-König would be done! Anyway, it’s not about beauty today. But about the ride.

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Mini is currently working on the chassis of the new three-door car in Lapland. It will hit the streets in autumn 2023. The unusual: There will then be a combustion version made in Oxford as usual. And an e-mini that dares Brexit and rolls off the assembly line in China. Both have the same chassis and the same look, but otherwise little to do with each other.

Mini Cooper SE

One car, two plants: the classic combustion Mini will continue to be built in Oxford, while the E-Mini will come from China in the future.

Today we are sitting in the Far East speedster. At the wheel: chassis engineer Klaus Bramer (34). Just between us: a completely new platform that has nothing to do with previous BMW developments. It comes from a joint venture with Great Wall. “Spotlight Automotive Limited” is the name of the company in which both sides hold 50 percent each. Are Bayern giving up their know-how completely? “No,” says Bramer. “The Mini is still being developed in Munich.” Or at least by developers from Munich, who are currently waving it over Swedish snow slopes.
Mini Cooper SE

Longer wheelbase, wider track: Even sitting in the front passenger seat you can feel how well the new Mini is.


The new Mini drives like it’s on rails

Even as a passenger, you can feel the clear differences between the old and new model generation. A Mini has never been so full and safe on the road. Nothing stirred, nothing shaken. “For example, we have lengthened the wheelbase and increased the track width,” says Bramer. “This improves comfort, especially at higher speeds.” As a matter of fact. As if on rails, the new whirrs through the curves. The weight? Still unclear. Definitely lighter than the E predecessor, which weighs 1440 kilograms. In addition, the new Mini should be shorter.

Mini Cooper SE

A range of 400 kilometers is targeted for the Mini Cooper SE – assuming you have the right driving style.


Up to 400 kilometers range

The old E-Mini contained technology from the BMW i3. The new battery and electric motor come from Great Wall. Within the group, there was simply nothing that would have fitted into the car. There will be two electric alternatives. The Cooper E with 40 kWh battery and 184 hp and the Cooper SE with 50 kWh and 224 hp. That promises hot on ice! What Mini fans will be happy about: The new one should no longer be limited to 150 km/h as before. At higher speeds, however, the maximum range of 400 kilometers for the SE should be, well, mini.
Mini Cooper SE

A look through the side window: the interior of the new Mini is still a secret. What is certain is that things will change.


Inside, the new Mini is tidier

And inside? Secret like Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Nevertheless, we’ll lift the black cloths that do that cockpit cloak. Whoa! In the middle we uncover a touch display, big and round like a frying pan for a family portion of Ham & Eggs. These include real switches, for example for the radio, the driving experience and the obligatory start button. There are also buttons for the window heating and the parking beeper, among other things. The climate control, on the other hand, will also work on the Mini via the touch display in the future – we have never found it good.

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Overall, everything is tidier than before, but not as soulless as these monitor landscapes of other cars. Above the steering wheel (beautifully designed with classic buttons) they only screwed a wooden dummy. A real screen won’t be there anymore. Mini speaks of a “new technology”. We suspect: There will be a large head-up display.
Mini Cooper SE

Five generations: Ur-Mini (1959-2000), first BMW Mini (from 2001), its successor (from 2006) and the third generation (since 2014). In the front left the youngest scion.


Mini generation five is set to be a success in China

With production in the Far East, Mini is hoping for a local sales boost. So far, China has only accounted for ten percent of sales, well behind Great Britain and Germany. That should change with the new E models. And what about the combustion engine? In Germany he should hardly play a role. Of the around 34,000 Mini Cooper SEs sold worldwide last year, around 10,000 went to Germany – more than to any other country.

Good news for traditionalists at the end: the new E-Mini remains a real Brit in one respect – the Union Jack will continue to adorn its rear lights.

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